– By Livia Qiang

Sifu Shi Yan Ming says “Everyday is Christmas, every day is New Years” and that we must celebrate everyday not only on special occasions.

This February  10th we celebrated Sifu’s birthday which coincides with Chinese New Year and this year is the year of the Dog.

For this celebration the USA Shaolin Temple was beautifully adorned with fresh flowers, Chinese lamps, and inflatable golden balloons in the shape of dogs.

A poster celebrating Sifu’s birthday and as is the Temple’s tradition, a hand made birthday card were on display for disciples, students, and friends to write wishes, blessings, and happy thoughts for Sifu.

Once again Heng Ru (Bokeem Woodbine) joined us in what he once called “consistently the best party I will attend all year”.

Presents were given by disciples and students and there was a pińata to be smashed by Sifu, which he broke in half with one stroke. All the temple children rushed to gather the candy that fell from the piñata.

After the celebratory cheers and the cutting of the cake people enjoyed homemade dishes, many of which celebrate the diverse backgrounds of the many different students and disciples, and then our own DJ Heng Fa began his beats which made everybody a dancer, not just a fighter.

Looking around the Temple, it was clear that our sangha is made up of people of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds getting together with home made food, special water, and some beautiful performances to celebrate Sifu Shi Yan Ming’s Birthday.